Road & Track April/May 2021

Road & Track includes technical features on automotive subjects, wide-ranging feature stories, spectacular automotive art and standard-setting new-car photography, humor, fiction, travel stories, book reviews and the most comprehensive racing coverage offered by a monthly magazine.Bonus: iPad Interactive

United States

in this issue

2 min
why we take risks

HUMANS ARE ineluctably drawn to doing stupid, dumb, silly things just for the hell of it. We slip into squirrel suits and jump off mountaintops (no thanks); we climb 2000-foot-tall radio towers and hang by one finger just to get an Instagram shot (not for me). We gamble our rent money on the stock market from our phones. That’s not the sort of risky behavior I’m drawn to. Nor is risk theater. A few years ago, I entered an autocross in Southern California (in a Mercedes SLK), and I overheard the race marshal reassuring someone’s nervous spouse, “We minimize actual risk and maximize apparent risk.” In other words, it’s mostly theatrical. Getting into a car has by nature an added element of risk—especially when compared with sitting on your sofa. Society accepts that…

2 min

Tim McDonagh TIM MCDONAGH IS an illustrator living and working in the south of England. Inspired by old comics, gig posters, and tattoos, his work is an antidote to more popular, more twee styles and can be applied to pretty much any job. Despite having a digital finish, McDonagh’s art is all hand-drawn. He enjoys drawing more extreme scenes and packing the illustration with detail so intense that it becomes almost gruesome. His highly energized version of Ken Carter’s big jump graces this issue’s cover. A.J. Baime When he was six years old, A.J. Baime started writing stories and playing with Hot Wheels cars. He is still at it on both fronts. Baime’s books include Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari, and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans and his most…

4 min
it's the frankentrack!

DANGER HAS ALWAYS been central to the appeal of motorsports. Old-school tracks like Indianapolis, Le Mans, and the Nürburgring still thrill, even as tightening safety regulations have cleaned up their rap sheets. But the most famous corners in racing are still some of the most dangerous, the ones where pushing a fraction harder can earn precious tenths, or carom your car off a wall. Or worse. We wondered what it would look like if you strung 10 of the most noted, treacherous corners together into one monster track. The result could only exist in your nastiest nightmares. DRIVER’S 1 MANUAL The Road Is Flooded… Don’t panic. If the water is six inches to a foot deep, your car may float. Two feet deep, you’re definitely floating. If your car stalls, get out and…

3 min
pass the salt

BONNEVILLE IS HOLY GROUND for the speed freak: a flat stretch of ash-white earth running underfoot for more than 12 miles. Eons of circumstance built this racecourse on Utah’s western edge. Speed Week has called it home since 1949, and with good reason. Bonneville’s a rare spot where humanity might stare risk in the eyes, skirting safety and sanity to hang it way out past the edge, strapped to one 200-plus-mph rocket car or another. Here, the horizon is the only obstacle to outright speed. For now, that is. Speed Week has become increasingly threatened over the past decade, canceled in both 2014 and 2015. Those minuscule grains of salt that faithfully bubble forth and harden into God’s Own Runway are disappearing, literally. Racers once counted on a salt surface nearly…

1 min
road & track’s authoritative matrix of vehicular risk

Risk is unavoidable, an engine that drives a thousand insurance companies. And it encompasses more than just Mustang-driving youths. Automotive peril is everywhere, all the time. Fortunately, harnessing all the floating-point power of the R&T Supercomputer, we’ve created a matrix that quantifies risk, using a familiar two-axis formula of Probability versus Consequence Severity. Some events, such as misplacing your keys, are high-probability but with relatively minor consequences. Others carry a low likelihood but represent near-certain catastrophe. Think driving off a cliff, perhaps, or relaunching Hummer. DRIVER’S 3 MANUAL You’re Being Tailgated… Don’t panic. Don’t brake check. Don’t speed up and turn it into a race. Don’t antagonize. Move to the right and let the tailgater pass as soon as possible. Keep your gesture finger holstered and mellow out.…

6 min
the right seat

RHIANON GELSOMINO has a broken right fibula. It’s been like that since 2009, when the rally car she was riding in crashed at 100 mph. Rhianon broke her legs in nine places, requiring a months-long gantlet of surgeries and rehab to learn to walk again. The wonky fibula is a straggler, but she just got tired of surgery. “That crash should have killed me,” she says. “I was bleeding internally. I was trapped in the car for two and a half hours. But what’s funny is, I don’t remember a thing, and the other crashes I’ve had, I never thought I was going to die. The fire in 2014, that was the only time I’ve actually thought, ‘I don’t think I’m going to survive here.’ Do you want an espresso?” She jumps…